White Marriages

Has anyone on this board made the decision with their spouse to leave behind the sexual phase of their marriage? How long did it take you to reach that stage, how long were you married before that? Was age/ability a factor? Was fertility a factor? Is it something you took as a solemn decision before God, i.e. to offer it up to strive for greater spiritual gifts, or was it simply something you both felt more comfortable with at that time. Do you regret it? If you did regret it, would you and your spouse be open to reconsidering?

Again, I’m young, contemplating marriage, and would just like to know what might be likely to lie ahead.

When I was a teenager I had the audacity to walk up to my aged grandmother and ask if she still thought about sex. She told me that she did…

I think that most couples continue to have sex as long as they are physically able.

This is the first time that I have ever heard of a White Marriage. Is it something that you and your fiancé are contemplating?

My fiancee are certainly not contemplating anything of the sort yet, being only 25!

I just want to know what’s in store for the future.

I have heard some on this board suggesting that there are problems with our society expecting older people still to be interested in sex, taking viagra etc. St Augustine and some of the early Greek Fathers certainly seem to suggest that many married couples do/should move beyond the sexual phase of their relationship in their older years.

It may in fact be that in our case we have something the opposite, in that we may need to be very careful about sex until our natural fertility leaves us, so i can imagine having a lot of sex in our older years, God willing :thumbsup:

This is a highly personal question, and I would not expect to get many answers.

Being celibate in any relationship is difficult. But it can be done.

My advice would be simply…don’t worry about it! You are 25. You have a whole life ahead of you, a wide open future, why contemplate this now? I guess I am just confused as to why this is even on your radar right now. This is the first time I have ever heard of this and can honestly tell you that it is not even a concern of mine after having read this.

My wife and I will continue to have sex hopefully until we are old and grey. The marital embrace is uniting us with Christ in this sacrament of marriage that He has blessed us with. Sharing Christ with my spouse…why would I ever want to stop doing that?

I know this is not what you asked, but I have a mild concern. I am concerned that if you are contemplating marriage and this is a question for you, that there may be something wrong. I have yet to meet someone in a marriage where this question has been raised in some form where there was not also present a problem of some sort with sexual relations. The problems vary, of course, from a disinterest in relations on the part of one person, to things more severe.

Do you have a small worry about some facet of how relations will play out in your future marriage? Just think about it to be sure. It is a question to think about, and not one you need to answer out loud, unless you want to.

My parents have been married for 60 years and for the last 12 have remained celibate. I suspect this had to do mainly with their ages (both in their 80’s) and a general lack of “drive”. They remain very much in love, still sleep together in the same bed, hold hands and cuddle. Very romantic, but non-sexual. They will both testify that this has in no way harmed or diminished their love for eachother. In fact, they agree it has had the opposite effect.

Uh…how did this come up on conversation?:smiley:

:eek: Unfortunately, my beloved mama has lost her ability to “self-edit” due to senility and suffers from a loose tongue. I can’t even begin to tell you some of the “intimate” things she has shared with me and my sisters!:eek: It’s a horror!

Some Orthodox couples do decide to abstain from intercourse after menopause. It’s just a way of having a “monastic” phase of life as well. Both spouses must agree to this. There is nothing inherently wrong with their sexuality, they just enter a stage where it is no longer necessary, and another mode of life presents itself.

OP: Is it that you’re discerning whether to become a monk or get married? A “white marriage”, if your future wife agrees to it after menopause, could be a “middle way”.


I was wondering where did that subject come up. Gosh, I never heard of a white marriage. But in fact with my fiance’s grandmother that past like a year 1/2 ago, after her husband died she didn’t remarry nor thought about sex. She told me that she was ok not having sex, because that is not a big part of her life. She had God, and her family to keep her company. But before her husband died which was in (99) they were still have sex only one’s in a while. I guess it depends on the couple. So you and you’re fiance should sit down and have this conversation before you get married.


God Bless,


I think that the term “white marriage” implies a false idea that sex is bad and therefore impure and that a non sexual marriage is non white or impure. Kind of a skewed and warped idea of sex. My advice is to read theology of the Body. Also, a Chaste marriage is a situation some people have, medical-mental -or emotiional problems can come into play. It is not only possible but can be fulfilling, but is it something to strive for? well that is up to you, your spouse and God I guess. But one thing is for sure, whatever you do in your marriage it MUST bring you closer to God and eachother.

we have a rule on this forum about asking personal questions, and I think this certainly violates that rule. Rephrase your question to ask about church teaching (which has been discussed at least 6 times in the last month, do a search and save yourself some work).

**Annie, I really don’t think this is any more personal a question than talking about NFP and all it entails… In fact, I think it’s much less personal.:slight_smile: **

I agree with Martha, I think the “no personal questions” rule is invoked to avoid direct questions, such as asking another poster where he or she lives, etc. This is an open question and people are free to answer or not as they see fit.

It is a rather interesting question. I also had never heard before that couples were encouraged to give up sex simply because they were aging. I can understand if there are health issues or mutual lack of interest/desire, but if both spouses are still interested, I don’t see why they should be expected to stop having sex. That doesn’t make sense to me.

I also had never heard before that couples were encouraged to give up sex simply because they were aging. I can understand if there are health issues or mutual lack of interest/desire, but if both spouses are still interested, I don’t see why they should be expected to stop having sex. That doesn’t make sense to me.

A married couple should never be “encouraged” to give up sex without a genuine need to do so. Marital sex was created to be important in uniting a couple to each other and with God. A marriage is not just 2 persons, it’s three - husband, wife, and God. The couple does not need to sacrifice the marital embrace to embrace God more fully. If anything the marital embrace allows them to more fully embrace God.

This is also not something a couple “grows out of”. That is a huge myth. Yes, some couples do reach a point where their health becomes a barrier in some way or another, but that is not a choice on the couples part. The sexual side of their relationship does change, but outside of health, there is rarely a couple that chooses to just never do it again.

**Menopause does not mean a woman never wants sex again either. Many women actually say they were surprised at wanting it MORE.:blush: **

I don’t think anyone is encouraged to give up sex simply because they are older. I thought the OP was talking about couples who chose to give up sex after raising a family as a way to bring themselves closer to God.

St. Teresa (little Teresa’s) parents did this. At first they had planned to always abstain. Then their priest counseled them to have a regular marriage. (Good idea! :wink: ) Finally, I believe that after Teresa’s birth and before her mother’s death they again abstained.

But, I agree with other posters that if OP is young and not even married yet, this shouldn’t be the first thing on his mind. There are many trials and joys in married life and he probably shouldn’t be trying to circumvent them before he’s even started!

If I am not mistaken married priests in some of the other rites are expected to be celibate. Anyway it seems to me that if a couple mutually agrees to abstain for whatever reason that is their choice and right. In 1Cor. 7 St. Paul advises the unmarried to remain that way if they can, and advises married to not neglect each others needs unless they mutually agree for a time to devote themselves to prayer. “For it is better to marry than be burnt” Moreover, what is wrong with celibacy, we demand it of our priests and religious.

In the context of this thread, it sounds like you are asking, “What is wrong with a married couple abstaining for the remainder of their marriage?” Is this what you mean?

There is nothing wrong with a married couple abstaining in the right circumstances. I think it is harder to abstain as a married person than it is to never have sex as a single person.

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